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Finnish treat: coffee with a homemade cinnamon roll A typical Finnish treat is to have a coffee with a cinnamon roll. The rolls are very popular in Finland and Sweden, you will find them sold in every café and pastry shop.

Note, however, that traditional Finnish cinnamon rolls are relatively small in size, unlike most of the commercially made, ridiculously gigantic "American-sized" rolls.

Another fault, found especially in the commercial buns, is the excessive use of cinnamon, completely masking the delicate flavour of the buns. Some of the worst examples of this kind are the American Cinnabon rolls  —  their flavour and texture mainly resemble cinnamon-infused cardboard.


1 portion of basic sweet yeast dough
1 egg for glazing
sanding sugar for garnish
(chopped or flaked (unblanched) almonds for garnish)
softened butter
powdered cinnamon

Prepare basic sweet yeast dough according to the instructions given here.

Knead the leavened dough lightly and roll it out into a rectangle about 35 × 50 cm in size and less than ½ cm thick. Spread a thin layer of butter evenly on the dough and sprinkle a thin, even layer of sugar and cinnamon on top. Do not be tempted to use too much cinnamon, as it will mask the delicate flavour of the rolls  —  a common fault in most of the commercially made rolls.

Finnish cinnamon roll

Starting with the longer side, roll up the dough into a tight cylinder, like a jelly/Swiss roll. Cut up the dough roll into triangular pieces (see figure 1 below). Place the pieces on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Figure 1
Figure 1
Cutting of the roll of dough

Press down with the side of your hand on every piece as shown in figure 2, to make a crease at the centre so that the sides will spread out a bit (figure 3). Cover the cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise until doubled in size.

Figure 2 Figure 3
Figure 2
Press down at the centre towards the wider side
Figure 3
Prepared cinnamon roll

Glaze the rolls with lightly beaten egg, sprinkle with sanding sugar (and almonds) and bake at 225 °C for 10 - 12 minutes, or until golden brown and done. Place the rolls on a wire rack to cool, loosely covered with a towel. Serve the warm rolls with coffee or tea. Like fresh wheat bread, they should be eaten within the day of baking.

Recipe source: traditional Finnish recipe.

Cylindrical cinnamon rolls with icing:
Cylindrical cinnamon rolls Instead of cutting the dough roll into triangular pieces, cut it into about 4 cm long cylindrical slices and place them cut side down on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. You can use large, sharp scissors in cutting the dough roll.

Cover the rolls and let rise until doubled in size. Glaze, garnish and bake the rolls as described above. When still slightly warm, the rolls may be drizzled with sugar icing:

sugar icing:
about 250 ml icing sugar
1½ tsp vanilla sugar
(1/3 tsp almond essence)
1 - 2 tbsp milk or water

Sieve together the icing sugar and vanilla sugar. Stir in milk or water a little at a time, until you get a smooth, thickish mixture. Flavour the icing with the almond essence, if you like. Drizzle the icing on top of the rolls and let it set.

Recipe source: family recipe.


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